Inherited a number of pearl necklaces and bracelets and would love to know more


Jan 9, 2023
I recently inherited a number of pearl necklaces and bracelets. A few earrings, but not many.

I've always been a fan of pearls, I just love them so much.

However, I don't know the first thing about them... Or even how to take care of them!

There are a bunch, so I don't know if I should post a separate thread for each, or if I should just keep to one thread...

But I'm practically dying to share what I have, and get any information on them. I understand that this is just a forum, that we are all just people, and that this wouldn't be an appraisal etc. I get that. I'm just really anxious to learn more... I've always wanted to.

Thanks for being patient with me.

PS - the is how they came to me, if that photo of all of them together in one pile gave anyone a heart attack, please be assured that I'm quite certain that is just a big no-no. I've started untangling them, as you can see in the other photos... But if I'm being honest - I don't know how to store them properly.


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Hi starkvinna,

You came to the right place!

Just taking a quick look I think most (if not all) of those may be imitation pearls.

There is a simple test called the Tooth Test that you can do to separate the likely-fake from the likely-real pearls. For each necklace, rub two of the pearls gently against one another, or rub one pearl gently against the edge of your front tooth (but wipe the pearls clean first!) For brooches etc, rub against your tooth.
Imitation pearls glide smoothly; real nacre feels gritty.

There are other distinguishing features of imitation pearls, but start there.

After doing the tooth test, if there are any items you think may be real, photograph them individually, in focus, against a white background, without flash. Zoom in on any blemishes in the nacre. Also check the clasps for any marks-- 14K, 925, etc.
Also I want to add that there is nothing wrong with enjoying imitation pearls! Jackie Kennedy's famous 3 strand necklace was fake! So were Barbara Bush's multi strand pearl necklaces. Kate Middleton wore fake pearl earrings too.
I have quite a few myself-- I even wore one at my wedding!

Also about storage and care-- whether fake or real, it's best to store them away from other jewelry that may scratch them. Little pouches are good for this. Also, whether fake or real, don't expose them to perfumes, hair products or other cosmetics. Wipe them with a soft damp cloth after wearing them, to remove sweat and environmental pollutants.
Okay, neat! I'll try that out. I did notice that some are much heavier than others. As I go through them, trying out that little test, I'll have a better idea and separate, then I'll post the hopefully -real ones that I am hoping to learn more about.

Most look like imitation pearls to me. There's a strand on the left where the pearls are sort of button shaped, that might be inexpensive, cultured freshwater pearls from China.
Most look like imitation pearls to me. There's a strand on the left where the pearls are sort of button shaped, that might be inexpensive, cultured freshwater pearls from China.
I have an imitation strand that looks like that, but yes, they could be freshwaters.
I didn't even know they made imitation pearls from glass. Neat. I took photos of the stand that felt like sandpaper across my tooth, but now can't find them so I have to take new photos.
Yes, the better imitations are glass beads that are dipped in a solution made from an extract from fish scales.
The best ones are dipped in the solution many times. Majorica brand imitation pearls are dipped over 30 times.

See this thread if you wish to see photos of imitations: